DECISION POINT: Change Requires Courage and Willingness To Re-Create

by Sheila Delson

It’s the culture mantra of our generation, and every New Year we do it again! We resolve to get our lives organized, lose those 20 pounds, and pray that all birthday greetings get sent out on time! With the hope of starting afresh we put pencil to paper and begin creating our ‘goals’ lists once again. We gather the necessary goods to ensure that it all happens, and promise ourselves that we’re going to get it right this time! And, some do. But for most of us mid-lifers, motivation quickly wanes. Why is that?

 As a 16-year veteran professional organizer, now in my 60’s, I recently had a revelation after working with a client who had just celebrated her 60th birthday - the same day she had admitted her father into a long-term nursing care facility. Ginger called me because she was overwhelmed by the stacks of lingering paper involving her dad’s illness, plus many of his personal family belongings that came from her childhood home. Clutter and general neglect had accumulated in her 7-room house during the years as the care-giver to her dad. She held a full time job and was a single mom of two, both in college. She was overwhelmed and emotionally drained, and described a deep sense of “loss of self.” Ginger isn’t alone. 75% of my client base is boomers, and of that percentage approximately 78% are chronically disorganized (www.nsgcd.org). According to recent statistics, there is an estimated 79 million baby boomers in the US alone…many dealing with very similar issues.

We are considered the “sandwich” generation, a far more complex era compared to the generations before or after us. Although circumstances vary, I realized that Boomers suffer from an inordinate demand on four essentials of life: time, energy, environment, and joy. It’s of little wonder why antidepressants are among the top medications prescribed today! Since society revolves around the 24-hr.day (and we all get equal portion) the greatest assault is on our time. It occurred to me also, that although tired, we are also strong, so let’s change it up! Let this year’s resolution be to make a big-picture shift in the way we do things and become more pro-active about changing our condition so we can create more meaningful and harmonious lives. Since time is a major issue, it would make sense that we start here. We must be more vigilant (mindful and deliberate) about how we choose to spend it, where and with whom, than ever before. Doing so will also require a significant ‘change’ in the way we think about our things and to let go of unsupportive items, beliefs and habits, including any irreconcilable toxic relationships. We need to develop new empowering resources, consolidate activities and efforts, and simplify our environments. Doing so will immediately minimize time-wasting activities, eliminate unnecessary spending (dollars), and will streamline life so we can ‘be’ for those who are important to us – especially to our own ourselves. Enough of this tough sandwich! Bring on the dessert, please!

Change requires courage, effort, acceptance and a willingness to re-create. Some will require more radical intervention, but the rewards far outweigh the effort. Humor me if you will: to further illustrate my thoughts (and add some fun) I’ve developed a little metaphor. Below is my little list of four (petit-fours-like) recipe recommendations for how to transform your life from the squeeze of the sandwich generation into a lighter, sweeter and more gratifying era as a Petit Four pastry might represent. Life is short – eat dessert first, right? January is National Get Organized Month (www.napo.net). Are you up for the 2011 challenge? Then put on your apron and thinking- cap, and let’s begin!

Petit-Four For Life

Ingredients: (Caution: over-indulgence may become addictive and beneficial to your health.)

Time – a major ingredient. Time is also “money” – guard it with great care. Harness and control it deliberately and skillfully. Use a planner system www.plannerpads.com, (not just a calendar) to capture and manage the most important/necessary activities in your life. Be mindful of time wasters vs. valuable activities. Be sure to schedule enough time for your own self-care…you will need it to help build and replenish the next ingredient.

Energy – an essential ingredient for making things actually happen. It is self-generated and self- sustaining, not by will-power, rather by commitment, honor and choice. The type of energy generated (weak or strong) will depend on what we choose to keep and eliminate in the organizing process. Life is a continuum and in order to move ahead we sometimes need to let go of whatever things (items, activities, and people) that hold us back or create ‘drag.’ Once those shackles are identified and released, energy increases, motivation improves and a new sense of freedom will soar!

Environment – the climate where you choose to live. It is your physical domain, your habitat. Aim to minimize and simplify by eliminating unnecessary clutter, implement organizational systems that support the first two ingredients above. If you need help, offer to exchange organizing help-time with a friend – it’s a great way to create synergy and motivation, or hire a professional organizer if you get stuck! Creating an environment that is orderly, supportive and esthetically pleasing increases your time by eliminating the clutter that requires unnecessary management and drains our energy. Intrinsic motivation flourishes in peaceful environments, where innovation and creativity allow for newer happier opportunities - which is where the next ingredient comes in!

Joy – the sweet results of a combined convection mix of all ingredients above. It delivers a sense of well being and victory. It is contentment. It has qualities similar to yeast because when this ingredient is re-introduced back into the batch, the recipe automatically increases synergistically, creating more time, more energy (motivation) and thus an improved environment, and so on. Choices, decisions, time management and routine maintenance become easier…life is simpler, richer and sweeter.

Directions: Combine all ingredients sequentially as listed above and bake with continued frequency. This is a process type recipe so be sure to re-mix expanded results back into the batch to enhance its savory and fulfilling flavors, and to ensure long term sustainability. Results will remain stable as long as applied to daily life daily. Benefits of these little but powerful ‘Petit-Fours’ can only be experienced and appreciated when sampled liberally every day.

Calories: explosive. Expandable results: endless. Bon Appetite!



The Plan

by Christine

 The plan started to take form after sitting quietly at dawn for several days listing “things I said I wanted to do when I grew up” and “things I like”. In our family we are big list people, a trait we learned from my father. At the time of his death, we found a list of all the books he had ever read and I was able to compare it against my list of all the books I had ever read.

List making in general has gotten a bad rap over the last 10 years. List makers have been accused of being tactical thinkers while non-list makers are said to be strategic thinker. Only strategic thinkers are said to have the “right stuff” to be leaders of industry so thousands of CEO wannabes shunned their Franklin Day Planners as they worked to appear more strategic. For a short time I went underground and secretly kept a list on my computer that I could email to my iPhone. Today I proudly proclaim I am a list maker who as long as I can remember to check my list is highly organized and can systematically accomplish my strategic goals!

But I digress; the plan took form over only a couple of days. It was time for a road trip to see family and friends with the ultimate destination being Alamance County North Carolina. Why did I want to end up in Alamance County North Carolina? I want to write a book. The seed of the story I want to tell comes from an episode from my father’s childhood. My objective was to stay at the farmhouse on Granny’s farm where my father lived as a young boy and write the book.

I decided to pick-up I-95 beyond Yonkers and head south. I would stop in DC to visit friends, Savannah, Jacksonville, Lehigh and Charlotte to visit family before heading to the farmhouse to write. I was also going to work against type; I was going to stop when I wanted to stop, eat when I wanted to eat, actually stop to take roadside pictures and generally enjoy the journey. I would not try to beat my best time ever on the drive between New York and Jacksonville.

As I reached the DC Metro area I was struck by the amount of activity and energy everywhere. New construction along I-495, road improvement at I-395 and I-495 and the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project is under way creating a sense of prosperity for the region. Forbes.com reported New York City and Washington, DC housing prices were on the rise. It did occur to me that Wall Street and the Federal government created the crisis that cripples many communities today but they don’t seem to be suffering the consequences of their actions.

My trip continued south with a brief stop at South of the Border to take pictures. SOB, located on the North Carolina and South Carolina “border”, is what my mother would call a Tourist Trap. But to a kid it’s fun painted neon. For hundreds of miles brightly painted billboards build anticipation with corny copy such as

Pedro’s Fireworks, (does your?)
You never sausage such a place (You’re always a wiener at Pedro’s!).

You know you have arrived when you see the 165-foot Sombrero Tower.

I asked a native New Yorker what was the difference between Coney Island and South of the Border and his response was that Coney Island had class. My first visit to Coney Island was on a brutally hot summer day and candidly; it did not feel much different than being at SOB on a brutally hot fall day. Coney Island was developed to be a major resort and amusement park where New Yorkers would come to play while South of the Border was built to be a Tourist Oasis, a pit stop for Snow Birds heading south and North Carolinian who wanted a beer. They both showcase iconic images of the business aspirations of the past.

My next stop was Savannah, Georgia to visit with my nephew and his wife. Savannah is a your quintessential southern town. Southern live oak trees draped with Spanish moss shade civil war cemeteries, and old antebellum homes. Unlike Atlanta and Columbia, General Sherman spared Savannah during his March to the Sea so touring Savannah is like taking a step back in time.

Today Savannah’s genteel Southern past is jexu positioned against the creative energy generated by SCAD The University for Creative Careers. My nephew is a student at SCAD; he is studying to be a graphic novelist. Together we walked the streets of Savannah as he proudly pointed out SCAD buildings and projects. According to Savannahnow.com, in 1978 SCAD established itself “in Savannah’s declining historic district” and over the next 32 years “bought up the priced-to-move schoolhouses, vacant homes and dilapidated office buildings that were rotting away downtown and developed its campus.”

You can see SCAD’s thumb print everywhere. Like Columbia University in New York City, the college is interwoven with the city. SCAD’s Jen Library on Broughton Street was formerly the Mass Brothers department store and down the block is a three-story art supply store that caters to students and the general public. Tattooed and pierced cyclists weave through traffic on the main thoroughfare.

My nephew and I had an opportunity to eat at his favorite breakfast place and spend some time talking. I am hopeful when I talk to my children and niece and nephews. They are excited about life but at the same time they are realist. They want to build something whether it is a career, a family or a life. The children of the Baby Boomers are the children of divorce and for many, the lesson they took away from watching their parents was to choose wisely and commit. To quote the Ed Harris character from the movie Apollo 13, “failure is not an option”.

Our discussion jumps for current events to family to dreams for the future. My nephew is clear about the choices he is making and what he wants for the future. His energy is buoyant and positive.

As I reflect upon our conversation, I see that his clarity is age related not generational. All my friends are struggling with making decisions for aging parents, transitioning out of high-powered jobs into a more “meaningful life” or reinventing their small business into sustainable entities that will support employees for the long-term. In other words every decision feels like it must be researched, pondered and weighed in order to come up with the “right” answer. My nephew and his wife have not yet reached the age where every choice feels so critical.

From Savannah I drove to Jacksonville to spend time with my grandchildren. I am blessed to have 5 grandchildren, 3 boys and 2 girls. The 3 boys and one girl are my son and daughter-in-law’s children and my daughter and her husband are the parents to the youngest granddaughter. I was surprised at how much I love them particularly after the reaction I had to learning that I was going to be a grandmother for the first time.

I turned 50, learned I was going to be a grandmother and received my first invitation to join AARP all in the same week. I could not even say the “G” word for about two weeks...it took four more months before I could utter the number 50. It sure challenges the perceptions of your own image when your children have children. Today I proudly claim the title Grandmother though my grandchildren call me “The Mayor”.

The Mayor was a title that my daughter gave me. Actually what she said was I could be called the Grand Meré, which is French for Grandmother. I did not hear the Grand part and thought she said I could be called The Mayor. I was ecstatic. I explained that in fact this was perfect because when my grandchildren got older they would tell their friends they were going to go to the Mayor’s house for lunch and their friends would say, I did not know you were related to the Mayor. I laughed heartily as I envisioned this future exchange.

Fast forward 7 years to where my number 1 grandson is answering the question posed to him by first grade teachers, what is the name of and where does your father’s mother live? The teacher asked the question three times, getting the same answer each time before finally writing down, The Mayor of New York City.

After several delightful days with my grandchildren, I traveled to my sister’s home in Lehigh Acres, Florida. As I was crafting my time-out, I was thunderstruck by the realization I had never visited my sister’s home. While we talk on the phone daily, even several times a day and see each other at least once a year at the “family home” in Jacksonville, I had not been to South Florida in 14 years. Needless to say, that became a key destination for me on my journey.




DECISION POINT: Say it out loud

by Karen Graves

“When something leaves your vocal cords it is 2-3 times more likely to become true.” ~ Thomas Leonard I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to be a Motivational Speaker. I love public speaking. To me it is like breathing. It is something that has always felt very natural for me. Being in front of a group presenting, or doing what I really enjoy most, teaching, feels like a personal slice of heaven. There is no better way to touch people than by sharing information that can make a big difference in their lives. Most people are shocked by the fact that I love to speak publicly. Most comments range from, “I could never do that” to “I give you a lot of credit for doing what you do.” Considering most people would rather be eulogized than deliver a eulogy, it’s easy to see why that is. I can remember when I first declared I wanted to speak for a living. It was over 20 years ago as I was just getting ready to graduate from college. Someone asked me what I wanted to do when I returned home. Very clearly and very honestly I responded, “I want to be either a standup comedian or a bartender.” Considering my parents had spent a fortune on my education, I quickly laughed it off by saying I would probably never be either because a) my parents would kill me for pursuing anything that didn’t require a college degree and b) I wasn’t funny enough for standup. And although the reasons came much later as to why I chose those two professions---a standup comedian talks about real life with humor in a way that makes it easy to swallow and a bartender listens intently and sympathetically to all that share their woes and need an ear. The way I teach and present being demonstrative of both of those roles---I see it was my first attempt at verbalizing my deepest desire. There were other times I said it, a little more directly. I actually said the words, “If I could be anything, I would be a Motivational Speaker.” However, without skipping a beat, I would quickly swallow them up with, “but I have nothing to say and who would listen to me anyway?” I can’t recall how many times that happened. And then I stopped taking it back. One day a few months ago as I was writing my biweekly ezine I just felt the strong urge to share with my readers that I was going to be an “International Motivational Speaker”. I guess a part of me felt that if I was going to do it, I needed to say it out loud, or in this case, write it out loud without the opportunity to take it back. (I believe the larger part is that I received a Divine Nudge in the direction of what I desired the most because truthfully, I am not always that forward thinking.) I remember that I followed the statement with the word, “Gulp.” I was nervous about what people might think and strangely excited all at the same time. After I sent the email I sat staring a long time at the confirmation message that told me it was gone. Gulp indeed. I don’t know what I expected, but nothing really happened. A couple of people commented, but there wasn’t an earth shattering moment that proved that my desire was going to go anywhere other than that ezine. So I went back to business as usual, coaching women entrepreneurs into successful businesses. About two months later I was at a large business seminar of about a hundred people. The forum was such that the group leader wanted to know what everyone felt that they had received from the training. Before my head could catch up with my feet, I found myself standing in front of the room, again making the declaration, “I want to be an International Motivational Speaker.” The rest of what I said was a blur because I can’t even tell you if my response had anything to do with the question. All I know is that in that moment I had to blurt the words out and again, not take them back. This time I received a bunch of acknowledgements from fellow attendees that let me know the timing was just right and my truth was getting louder. I was still a tiny bit nervous, yet even more excited than before. So it was not really a surprise to me when 3 weeks ago I received an email, and I can’t even tell you who from, that was an invitation to participate in a speaking contest called, “Ready for the Stage.” The email stated that it was for aspiring speakers to be done in American Idol fashion with the finalists being voted on by the audience in the room and those watching via an online live broadcast. To be considered as a participant, each person was required to submit a 5-minute video audition. Further details stated that this contest was part of a larger 4-day business seminar called SEVEN where four millionaires would teach attendees how to build a seven-figure business model. If selected as one of 10 semifinalists, I would attend the SEVEN for free, at a savings of $1400. From the semifinalists, 4 finalists would then be selected who would do a 10-minute presentation on stage. And just like American Idol, there would be live critique and voting. The winner would take home gifts and prizes galore. Again, compelled to “just do it”, I recorded my video audition on Thanksgiving morning and hit the send button. Immediately I felt at peace and also knew I had just solidified my semifinalist position. Don’t ask me how I knew, I just knew. And this time my nerves were calm. So on Thursday, December 9th when I stood on a stage in front 4 judges, approximately 150 people in the room and Lord knows how many at home watching a livestream broadcast presenting my 10-minute message, I wasn’t nervous. I was just excited. Chosen as the first of the 4 finalists to present, it was finally the moment to speak the truth I had been waiting for all along. I am a Motivational Speaker. If you have had a burning desire within you that you have been moving away from instead of towards, here’s what you do: Tell as many people as you can. If you choose not to, it will be just a dream deferred. If you are willing to say it out loud and often, it will quickly become a dream realized. And furthermore, as soon as you declare it out loud, I promise you, you will receive the Divine Nudges you need to make sure it comes true. And if you need an audience, send me an email with what it is to info@yourvisionlaunch.com, I love to support people in reaching their dreams. Want to know the results of the “Ready for the Stage" contest? Please come on over and read the Vision Launch blog @ http://www.yourvisionlaunch.com.


The Beginning

by Christine

I have often said that I am living my life in reverse. When all my friends were in college and back packing through Europe, I was becoming a Mom. When I was at home caring for my little ones everyone else in my age group were clubbing and starting out in their business careers. I was the first in my group to get a divorce, to have grandchildren and to extricate myself from the financial burden of owning “things”. I was the first to stop giving my grandchildren presents at birthdays and Christmas because they were becoming ungrateful under the weight of so many toys from grandparents and great grandparents. Instead I chose to set up a “dream” accounts that would allow them to have money for something meaningful to them. I have been out of sync with my peers for most of my life.

Today starts my Year of the Time Out. Others are calling it a sabbatical, a mid-life crises (though I am well past the age that is referred to as mid-life) or running away but it is in actuality a time out. Children get to have a time out, why not adults? But instead of going to my room, I am placing myself in a time out in the world at large. I have taken care of the running of my businesses; given away, thrown away or put in storage everything I own and I have cleared my calendar for the next year.

While one expects life to have its ups and downs, this past 15 months has been particularly difficult. I have been hit hard both personally and professionally. My company was caught in the flood in Nashville, TN and while the organization is stronger for the experience, I watched as many people pulled together to support one another while others weren’t quite so admirable. I am a big supporter of community service and had looked forward to making a positive impact in a local community leadership position when it turned negative. I spent a year, under the guidance of lawyers, trying to protect the organization while at the same time trying to protect the rights of all the individuals involved. Hard decisions were made and careers were altered. Finally my heart was broken. One who was close to me betrayed me at a core level.

So I am giving myself a time out. For the next year I am going to observe and listen. I have worked hard to craft a life that is positive but today I see that it has only been filled with drama and so much noise that I can’t think or reason. I am going on a journey of introspection.

The above entry was written on Monday, September 20, 2010. Less than a month later I was walking across the street in Greensboro, NC when a 19-year-old girl who was turning left struck me. The car flipped me up, I hit the windshield and then came down hard in the middle of the road. Frustratingly, I don’t remember a thing!! I have since been told the girl could not see me because of the angle of the sun. I have also been told that I was talking after being hit but could not remember my name or why I was at the intersection. I don’t even have a faint whiff of a memory trying to break through. Nothing!! A complete blackout. My injuries were a fractured right ankle, a concussion, head lacerations, cuts and bruises and most concerning damage to my inner ear. There are stones or crystals in the inner ear that control balance and mine had been dislodged. In the majority of cases they go back into place within 1 to 6 months and I have even seen some improvement since the 19th. Sitting up for the first time in the morning is like jumping off the “whirl”, the kid propelled merry-go-round that my brother and I used to call the “throw up machine”. While I know I run the risk of sounding like Polly Anna…it could have been worse, much worse. The young women and passersby stopped, the police came and the emergency unit scooped me up and took me to Moses Cone Trauma Center in Greensboro. I spent one night in the hospital and then was sent home with a boot on my right ankle, crutches and instructions to see my own doctors. My loved ones immediately rallied around me. My sister traveled from Florida to North Carolina to help me get my belongings packed up at the farmhouse where I was working on my book and moved to my daughter’s home for a few days. My son started the arduous task of sorting out the paperwork and legal issues of an accident. A week later my significant other came down to collect me and return me to my home in New York. I once was told by an acquaintance that she and her husband do not offer to do things for others because they do not want others to ask them for help. At the time I thought hers was a peculiar life philosophy but today I find it sad. I did not have to ask for help from the strangers that came to my aid in Greensboro or the love and support from my family. It was given freely and with affection. I thank them all and when I can I will pay-it-forward. The very act of a serious health threat whether through an accident such as mine or from aging is a sobering event. But when my head started to clear I realized that my heart and mind had been altered. On November 19, 2010 at 3:30 in the afternoon, everyone in my world got a clean slate from me. Absolution and forgiveness had been issued to all I know. It applied to all things great and small. At first others resisted my gift, trying to drag me back into another round of accusations, recriminations and blame assignment. The need to justify ones past behaviors is strong. I am not an expert on the Jewish religion but I gather there is a High Holy Day called Yom Kippur. It is my understanding that if one observes the day reverently and with an open heart, the outcome is to make peace with others and God. That fall day was a High Holy Day for me as I made peace with others and God. My sister teasingly questions, “How long will this last?” I hope for the rest of my life because there is now more laughter daily and less stress over the “small stuff”. My Time-Out continues and I will share with you the twist and turns of my journey. There are people I met before and since the accident that are living creative and passionate lives. So for me it is back to the beginning where the Footsteps team started. How do we THINK about the lives we are creating and how can we take constructive action to change our environment to support our vision?


Walk the Talk

by Christine

When we started Footsteps Group, our goal was to help others as they work to craft an original and authentic life. Our initial conversations centered around how we could support our parents during the aging process and how we could apply the lessons learned from their experience to our own lives. But in the quiet moment of personal reflection, I came to understand that it is not just about applying the lessons of aging to our lives but embracing the lessons of living. Yes, we want to be self-sufficient, fulfilled and independent as we age but what about today? As I shared my thoughts with colleagues, friends and family on this issue, I found that they too were feeling the same uncertainties about making the “correct” decisions in their lives. We have been bombarded daily with the news that we are living through the worst economic times since the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Millions of our countrymen and women have lost their jobs, their homes and the peace of mind that comes with a steady paycheck. We watch as the individuals we elected to public office have lost their way and spend their time squabbling and playing one upsmanship with the future of our country. I have learned from my own life that uncertainty breeds inaction. Fear sets in and paralysis takes over. Plans are put on hold while we hunker down and try to ride out what we hope to be a temporary storm. But what happens when one week turns to one month and one month turns to one year and before you know it, three years have gone by and the siege mentality has become a way of life. I took a look at my life and realized I needed to walk the talk. How can I lead a discussion on living an original and authentic life if I am afraid to take a chance? It is time to take a leap of faith and do the things NOW that I say I want to do. I will chase the dreams while my knees are good and my mind is clear. Yes, I want to learn the lessons of aging from my parents but I want to teach the lessons of living to my children and grandchildren. This blog will chronicle the experiences of my adventure over the next year as I take a time out from the routine. I am going on tour…a listening tour. I want to spend time with family, friends and strangers as I pursue my goals and aspirations. I am going to shake it up and share it.


Better Health Channel: What Makes Families Happy

by Christine

Excerpt: Happy families have certain traits in common. Communication, togetherness, sharing activities, affection, support, acceptance, commitment and resilience are typical in families that function well. Children benefit from regular mealtimes, affection, play, traditions and outings with the whole family. Unhappy families may benefit from professional help. Read the full article


Family and Consumer Sciences: Building Positive Relationships

by Christine

Excerpt: The decline of a parent’s health, death of one parent or financial pressures often mean an aging parent will need increased social and emotional support or services from family—such as help with meals, cleaning, transportation or financial matters. Sue, like many adult children today, is confronted with increased interaction with her aged parent and with decisions that will affect her life and her parent’s life. Read the full article


Psychology Today: When Parents Play Favorites

by Christine


A large proportion of parents display consistent favoritism toward one child over another. This favoritism can manifest in different ways: more time spent with one child, more affection given, more privileges, less discipline, or less abuse. Research by sociologist Jill Suitor examines some of the causes and consequences of parental favoritism, which occurs in 1/3 to 2/3 of American families.

Read the full article


Family Dynamics

by Christine

Betsy married Bill Camden when she was 20 years old. During their 55-year marriage they raised three children, worked hard to be financially independent and continued to be best friends until the day Bill died. Prior to Bill’s death, he managed all the family finances, including setting up a trust for the children and making sure their legal papers and wills were in order. As he aged, Bill talked to each of the children about what would happen in the event Bill and Betsy died and how the estate would be handled.

After a three-year struggle with heart disease, Bill died suddenly from a stroke. Two months after Bill’s funeral, Betsy decided to rewrite her will to make her oldest grandson, George, the executor of the estate and remove her children as executor as had been planned by Bill. Additionally she made George her healthcare proxy and granted him Power of Attorney. When her oldest child Barbara tried to talk to her mother about her decision to make these changes, Betsy became angry declaring that she did not have to discuss this with anyone including Barbara. Barbara withdrew and did not mention it again. Seeing their mother’s reaction to Barbara’s attempt to open a dialogue about the legal changes, her two brothers avoided the subject also.

When Betsy had her first transient ischemic attack (TIA) while talking to Barbara on the phone, Barbara contacted George about getting help for his grandmother. By the time George called Betsy, the attack had passed and not seeing the symptoms first hand, George dismiss the event as just a misunderstanding between his grandmother and aunt on the phone.

Six months later a second attack, lasting several hours, finally convinced George that something was indeed wrong with his grandmother. George came in and independently made decisions and plans in which Barbara and her siblings had no impute. Barbara recognizing that she was powerless to impact her mother’s life avoided any meaningful conversation with mother, keeping all interaction and conversation superficial. By the time her mother died, Barbara and her brothers were merely spectators at their mother’s funeral.

While everyone agreed that George had made good decisions during Betsy final years and was an effective Executor after her death, the family dynamics had changed. The once warm relationship between George and his Aunt became guarded and overly polite. And for years after Betsy’s death, her children continued to question why Betsy made the changes, never to find peace or understanding in their mother’s decisions.


Fast Company’s The 6 Myths of Creativity

by Christine

While this article is directed towards business, the underlying concepts work for the individual as she or he tried to think differently about managing their lives. Excerpt: These days, there's hardly a mission statement that doesn't herald it, or a CEO who doesn't laud it. And yet despite all of the attention that business creativity has won over the past few years, maddeningly little is known about day-to-day innovation in the workplace. Where do breakthrough ideas come from? What kind of work environment allows them to flourish? What can leaders do to sustain the stimulants to creativity -- and break through the barriers? Read the full article